Ronnie O’Sullivan – as charismatic as ever – was at it once again on Sunday after beating Ding Junhui to book his spot in the World Snooker Championship quarter-finals.
After claiming a 13-10 victory at the Crucible, O’Sullivan launched a savage attack on snooker’s next generation, insisting the standard coming through is so bad he would have to ‘lose an arm and a leg’ to slip down the rankings.
Here, Sportsmail has taken a look at the 44-year-old’s most controversial soundbites during his illustrious career…
O’Sullivan once again attracted all the headlines on Sunday after sealing his World Championship quarter-final spot against fellow veteran Mark Williams.
After enjoying seven consecutive half-century breaks, O’Sullivan launched a tirade regarding snooker’s younger talent.
‘The Rocket’, who has repeatedly referred to lower-ranked players as ‘numpties’, told the BBC: ‘If you look at the younger players coming through, they’re not that good really.
‘Most of them would do well as half-decent amateurs, or not even amateurs they’re so bad a lot of them.
‘A lot of them you see now, you think, cor, I’ve probably got to lose an arm and a leg to fall outside the top 50. So that’s why we’re hovering around – because of how poor it is down that end.’
RONNIE O’SULLIVAN LADIES AND GENTLEMAN. PLEASE NEVER CHANGE 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/ODdtW1dFCV
Prior to the World Championship getting underway, which was being treated as a test event to safely allow for the return of fans to live sport, O’Sullivan let his feelings be known.
The World Championship was the first indoor sporting event to have fans in attendance since the coronavirus lockdown in March, but the measures only lasted one day as the government quickly scrapped the return of spectators.
But O’Sullivan blasted the initial decision to allow crowds back to the Crucible – backing up Anthony Hamilton after he called it ‘ridiculous’ and could lead to a person dying ‘for no reason at all’.
O’Sullivan said: ‘Unless you’ve got a death wish, if you care about your health and are taking it seriously, I totally get how he feels.
‘This is a bit of a test. They’re treating this snooker event like lab rats. It’s like they’ve thought, “You’ve got to start somewhere, start with snooker players – less insurance to pay out for Anthony Hamilton than there is for Lewis Hamilton”.
‘They want crowds in there, they want things back to normal but I don’t think it’s a risk worth taking. For me, it’s a bit of a dirty situation.’
In 2018, O’Sullivan branded the venue of the English Open in Crawley as a ‘hellhole’ before claiming he could smell urine in the players’ interview area.
The five-time world champion insisted that event organisers had been ‘cutting corners’, saying he felt the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley was not of a good enough standard for the tournament.
The 44-year-old said: ‘It’s such a bad venue, it demotivates you to want to play. This is about as bad as I’ve ever seen. It’s a bit of a hellhole.’
He added: ‘I don’t know what this gaff is, but I’ve just done an interview and all I can smell is urine.’
Perhaps one of his more bizarre soundbites, this one. During the 2019 Coral Players’ Championship in Preston, O’Sullivan left interviewers baffled by his responses.
Following his victory over Barry Hawkins, O’Sullivan began answering questions in a mock Australian accent.
O’Sullivan bizarrely said: ‘When you talk Aussie, the Aussies are just winners mate, you know? You’ve got to love a winner.’
And after his antics, the snooker great explained his reasons behind putting on an Australian accent in interviews.
O’Sullivan justified: ‘I just try and find ways to entertain myself. It’s just the snooker world and the way they are. Last year, I was giving one word answers. This year I just thought I’d go Aussie.
‘When you’re Aussie you just feel so positive. I thought I’d just have a bit of a laugh with them.’
Ronnie O’Sullivan – “The younger players that are coming through are not that good… I’d probably have to lose an arm & a leg to fall outside the top 50. 😂
Interviewer – “It’s not that bad”
Ronnie O’Sullivan – “It is!” 💥 #worldsnookerchampionship pic.twitter.com/HqdSdoiw40
In 2018 at the UK Championship in York, O’Sullivan risked the wrath of his fellow snooker players.
After making a successful defence of his title, O’Sullivan claimed he was ready to start a breakaway tour after being left unhappy with the level of competition.
He said: ‘You don’t see Leyton Orient turning up to play (Lionel) Messi at Barcelona. They might play in the FA Cup, not week in, week out. It’s demotivating.
‘Messi would get fed up having to playing Huddersfield Town and Orient. He wants to play against Cristiano Ronaldo and wants to hear the Champions League music. It gets you excited. There is space for two tours. Everyone loves choice.’
O’Sullivan took a leaf out of Jose Mourinho’s book by threatening to pull the plug on in-depth media interviews to avoid getting in further trouble at the World Grand Prix in Preston three years ago.
After tackling his media commitments in a robotic voice, O’Sullivan answered questions in a short and abrupt manner – admitting at the time that he was responding to a disciplinary letter from World Snooker after making complaints about a referee and photographer.
After his short responses, O’Sullivan later insisted: ‘I will no longer be talking in depth in press conferences or interviews because when I share my thoughts, I risk being fined.’
At the Welsh Open in 2016, O’Sullivan came in for heavy criticism for turning down the chance of a maximum break of 147 against Barry Pinches.
‘The Rocket’ later claimed that he spurned the opportunity because the £10,000 prize money was ‘too cheap’.
O’Sullivan had potted 14 reds and 13 blacks before opting for an easier pink as he made a 146 against Pinches in the first round.
He went on to reveal: ‘I knew it was £10,000. I could have done it, but I didn’t think the prize was worthy of a 147. So I’ve tried to let it build up until it’s worthy and then go for it,’ he said.
‘It’s like going into a Mercedes garage and when they say that you can have the car for £3,000, you reply, “No way, that’s too cheap. I’m not buying it for that”.
‘Certain things have value, and a 147 is a special moment. I want it to feel special all round.
In 2008 at the China Open, O’Sullivan became embroiled in controversy following his exit from the tournament.
In a press conference after his loss, O’Sullivan was caught on camera making a series of inappropriate and lewd remarks.
O’Sullivan made the comments, which included ‘suck my d***’, as the questions and his answers were being translated.
The snooker veteran later claimed that he was unaware the cameras were rolling and the microphones were turned on.
And as punishment, O’Sullivan was forced to forfeit his tournament earnings and ranking points from the China Open.
O’Sullivan had been in a commanding position against Alain Robidoux during his first round match at the Snooker World Championship in 1996.
But he had angered Robidoux during the 10-3 demolition after his decision to play a number of shots towards the end left-handed.
Robidoux was having none of it and despite losing the 11th frame convincingly, the Canadian refused to concede and attempted to lay a number of unsuccessful snookers.
Robidoux managed to extend the frame by eight more minutes in the end before his inevitable defeat.
O’Sullivan caused more controversy when he conceded his quarter-final against Hendry in the Maplin UK Championship in York back in 2006.
The infamous incident took place in the quarter-final with O’Sullivan 4-1 behind in a race to nine frames.
Despite leading 24-0 in the sixth frame, he decided to throw in the towel, shaking hands with Hendry and referee Jan Verhaas before walking out of the arena – much to the amazement of the spectators.
And 14 years later, O’Sullivan has explained his actions and admitted he would never do that again.
‘I was having a lot of problems at home, with my family life,’ he said. ‘I didn’t even want to be near a snooker table but I had to go and play because it’s work.
‘I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind at all. A few matches before that I wanted to shake the guy’s hand and walk out because I didn’t want to be in that environment. I wanted to play but obviously there was a lot of stuff going on in my head that was upsetting really. That could have happened three or four matches before Hendry.’